Green Scorpions go after Eskom

Eskom appears to have started building at its Safari sub-station without an approved environmental management plan (EMP), the environmental affairs department said on Tuesday.

This emerged after the Green Scorpions conducted environmental law compliance campaign inspections at five sites in the Western Cape last week.

“Preliminary findings at the Eskom Safari Sub-station are that Eskom has commenced with construction without approval of the environmental management plan and construction activities are occurring outside the development footprint,” the department said in a statement.

Furthermore, the appointed environmental control officer (ECO) had not kept records of monitoring and audits as required by the authorisation, it said.

Problems in Knysna, Plett
In Knysna, the upgrade of the East Fort water scheme by the municipality had been placed on hold until funding had been sourced.

However, the municipality never appointed an ECO to monitor the initial work which had been undertaken as required by the authorisation.

Construction of the Transnet reverse osmosis desalination plant was still under way and Transnet had appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to conduct baseline monitoring as well as to develop a monitoring programme to assess the impact of brine discharge into the environment to be implemented once the plant was operational.

An ECO had been appointed to monitor the project; however documents to demonstrate compliance with conditions of the authorisation were not readily available.

The department said in reference to the Kwanokuthula 66/22Kv substation and relocation of power lines in Plettenberg Bay, a large fuel spillage at the construction site had been observed, which had been there for a while and clean-up measures had not been put in place.

There was the unauthorised construction of a power line on a wetland drainage line and a soil stockpiles storage area, as well as the construction site, had not been demarcated.

In addition, alien vegetation had not been cleared on site and there was ponding of water at the construction site.

The department also established that there had been deviation from the original project description, which was not approved by the department.

Public works had also ceased all activities of the illegal construction at the Langebaan Military Base as instructed in the compliance notice.

Once the findings had been consolidated, decisions would be taken about the type of enforcement action required with regards to non-compliance.

Members of the public were urged to report environmental transgressions to 0800-205-005.

This week, inspections would be conducted at various sites in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, the department said. - Sapa

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